Connecting local responses around the world
This story is after a discussion with my team mate from Ruchira Neog , Voluntary Health Association of Assam (VHAA). I have also had discussion on this with my Bongaigaon and Udalguri teams.
Often I am asked why we have not focused on 'mothers' in our immunization project in Assam. Why have we engaged the family and the whole village. With 11 months of work, I reflect on this aspect of mothers vs family approach.
We invite every segment of the population for the meeting. Ruchira says that she has observed that three generation of women turn up- young mothers who are the daughters in law, then mothers in law who have just become grandmothers and the grandmothers in laws. It is the middle generation of women amongst the three generations who question why they have been called for a meeting related to child health or immunization. Their children are now adults and many of them are parents. These women mention that in some cases they did not give immunization to their children and their children are now healthy adults.
During facilitation of Community life competence process when we ask the question -what is your dream for health of your children, the new babies who have just been born. Do you want anything to happen to these children? It is then these new grandmas begin to see why immunization is important. They get involved in narrating the dream for their grand children and also promise to encourage their son and daughter-in-law to complete the schedule of immunization for the grandchildren. One of the grandmothers accompanied her daughter-in-law to know where the grandchild is immunised, so that in case the daughter-in-law can't go, the grandma will take the grandchild for vaccination.
Jahirul, facilitator from Bongaigaon, In the above picture as you can see that a mother-in-law has accompanied her daughter-in-law and her grand-child during immunization session.
My two takeaways-